A tale of confusion and fear, Fellswoop’s allegorical climate change adaptation of Toshiki Okada’s Current Location finally brings British audiences to the majesty of this Japanese classic.
Inspired by the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Toshiki Okada’s play has been remolded by modernist theatre group Fellswoop to more explicitly explore how rumour and the fears associated with climate change can disrupt whole communities.
In Fellswoop’s reinterpretation the female actresses of the village choir sing, think and clash as big ideas come crashing down upon them to the point that they are simply overwhelmed by concepts that are far too large to deal with singularly head on.
Climate change has long been a controversial subject in the scientific community; despite the overwhelming evidence in it’s favour there remains a hardcore of non-believers who cannot afford (both financially & emotionally) to acknowledge defeat and instead stick steadfastly to their old beliefs.
It is this concept of “going down with the sinking ship” and the deeper social aspects that such denials expose within us at a community at large that Fellswoop wish to cast a light upon and explore.
Set in a fictional village that is abstract from it surroundings (in a world but beyond it) this is essentially the conundrum that our performers face.
The cast is flung headlong into the incestuous cesspool of a choir rehearsal room. The fear of being “one of those people” who speak their minds and say what they think tears them apart as they struggle with the omen of a “blue cloud” and all its climatic significance.
The all-female cast present an immersive piece of theatre with a sparse yet effective musical backdrop and an equally uninhabited stage design.
Presented in the vast caverns of the upstairs room at the Trinity Centre it is easy to feel like a theatrical ostrich during the action – all craning necks and long stares – as the actresses stand at far ends of the incredibly long & narrow stage enticing the audience to peer into their perplexing world by slapping them down right in the middle of it.
The stage really is a barren wasteland for the most part, devoid of individuality and emotion bar some use of song and vocal harmonies. There are no props bar one school table at the far end of the room.
Periodically sitting in the audience themselves the cast are really quite something to behold. Catlin Ince’s smothering mother hen is disturbingly believable and Roisin Kelly as the frail and frightened mouse whose suppressed emotions increasingly bubble over into violent action (including throwing the table over at one point in what is a truly remarkably athletic piece of drama) are the true stars.
A brilliant piece of immersive theatre, Fellswoop have again succeeded in bringing a Japanese classic to a British palate.